4 Tips on Harnessing the Power of Instagram for Authors

Instagram has seen staggering growth since Facebook purchased it. And every day, more authors are beginning to use it, with great success, to engage their readers, build their fan base, and sell books. And here’s why:

First, it’s simple to use. Second, it’s not nearly as ad-driven (yet) as Facebook, despite being owned by them. Third, Instagram is visually-driven, so it’s much easier to engage someone than it is on Facebook. Plus, it drives far high per-follower engagement than Facebook or Twitter, 58 times and 120 times more respectively.

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Here are some tips on how to develop innovative Instagram marketing for whatever it is you’re promoting.

Using a Posting Strategy to Grow Instagram Fans

Since the average person gets distracted in 8 seconds, it’ll be important to use images that are eye-catching, but that don’t require a lot of thought. Meaning you want them to be interesting, inviting, and completely lacking in complexity. In part this relates to the fact that most of your fans will be mobile, meaning that small screens have some limitations.

Most interactions will happen within about 30 minutes after you post – so to build engagement, be sure to have your Instagram at close hand so that you can interact with anyone who comments on your post! And, the more you post, the more quickly your Instagram fan base will build. At minimum, you should post once a day, but the most popular accounts post every 2 hours or so (or about 4 to 10 times each day).

If you’re stuck on what to post, take a look at what the trending posts are, and then use those hashtags to take part in conversations!

>> 8 Ways To Hook the Media’s Attention

Using @Mentions to Boost your Engagement

By tagging other Instagram users in your post, you can get up to 56% more engagement (Simply Measured)! To do this, use @ + their username. You can also tag them in the comments if you like. Instagram is cracking down on the over use of this feature, so it’s a good idea to use this technique sparingly instead of tagging anyone and everyone. Instead, if someone is authentically connected to whatever it is you’re posting, or has mentioned interest in a specific topic, then it’s definitely a great idea.

Make the Most of Hashtags

Hashtags are basically a requirement if you’re going to build your Instagram audience. Posts with at least one hashtag see 12.6% more engagement according to Simply Measured. And, what’s more, since you don’t face post length limitations like you do on Twitter, you can add lots of hash tags – as many as 30! The sweet spot seems to be 11 hashtags, and if you feel that including them in the photo caption is too much, you can also add them to the comments.

If your posts are going to become a series: develop a single hashtag to utilize the entire series. A series can be anything you deem it to be – some ideas might be quotes from your book, character info, or rare/important information, but you’re not limited to that at all.

Hashtags are fun, and there really aren’t any hard and fast rules. So be creative and play around with them and see what works best for your Instagram account.

Tune Into Your Followers

Instagram is currently chronological, so as people you follow post new content, it posts to the top and pushes the older posts further and further down. (Incidentally, Instagram is planning to move to a feed that’s based on what’s popular.) If there are some people whose posts you don’t want to miss, you can turn on notifications by clicking the three-dot icon on their profile. Now you get an alert whenever they add new content, and if you follow Kim Kardashian, you’ll never miss a butt shot (she has the third most-popular Instagram account).

Now is the time to embrace Instagram and the power it promises as a part of your overall marketing plan.

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